How To Heal When You’ve Hit Rock Bottom:
Strategies For Recovery & Moving Forward
Hitting rock bottom usually means that life has dealt you blows in a lot of ways simultaneously. Your business isn’t doing well; your spouse has left, and a loved one — perhaps a parent — died recently. It takes all your emotional resources, often, to cope with even one of those major life events, but when they hit at or around the same time, it feels like you’ve gone to the well once too often, and now it’s dry. Hitting rock bottom feels like you will never recover, never see the sunshine, metaphorically, ever again.You will, even though it seems impossible right now. We have some suggestions for how to heal, pick up the pieces and start moving forward. Try these and you’ll find that, inch by inch, moment by moment, you’ll start feeling better and see good times just over the horizon.
1) Let yourself feel, or you can’t begin to heal. If you try to deny how dreadful you feel, or how big a loss you’ve experienced, you can’t begin to recover. Spend some time alone and take real stock of what’s happened — and why — and what you might have done differently in those moments. Notice we say differently, not better, because this is not the time for self-recrimination and blame. Be honest about your role in, for example, marital breakdown, but blaming yourself constantly is not going to help. You need to recognize your part, and then come up with ways you can avoid making the same mistakes again.
2) Press pause on life for a moment. This is part of taking the time to really examine what’s happened and how deeply hurt and upset you are because of it. If you keep up a hectic schedule that allows no time for reflection, rock bottom will go on indefinitely because you will remain emotionally bruised even when you’re out rushing around being busy.
3) Channel your energy into a creative endeavor. It’s amazing just how restorative the arts can be when you’re depressed. Take up painting, or pound some clay and make a sculpture or take up the piano or guitar. These activities get you out of your own head and refocus your attention elsewhere, and eventually, the sense of accomplishment that comes with, say, knowing how to strum your favorite song is exhilarating. You don’t have to become great at it — this is a way for you to heal the hurt in your soul, not a way for you to become a professional performer. To quote William Shakespeare, “music soothes the savage breast,” and he knew what he was talking about.
4) Get outside and explore nature. Like taking up an art form, going outside is a great way to get out of your own head. Taking long walks, going for a run or even just exploring a local park is a terrific way to expend pent up energy and restore a feeling of calm. There is a reason doctors recommend regular exercise to depressed people — it helps!
5) Talk to people who believe in you. It’s easy to be your harshest critic, so call up someone who thinks highly of you, someone you are comfortable confiding in, and tell them how you’re feeling. Chances are, they will do their best to console you, and may offer insights and experiences that can help you cope. Perhaps they’ve experienced a job loss or a marriage breakup, and have come through the other side of it healthy and whole. Don’t be afraid to be honest about how badly you feel; human connection and consolation is one of the best, most fundamental tools of recovery you have at your disposal. If you are truly feeling hopeless and that feeling persists, consider talking with a therapist. But following these guidelines can go a long way toward healing your sense of gloom, and begin lifting you out of rock bottom, and get you on your way to a better, brighter, and more productive day.
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